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VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS: VIEWS ON INFORMATION AND SERVICES IN WALTHAM FOREST Report on responses to a questionnaire to mark International Women’s Day 2014

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VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS: VIEWS ON INFORMATION AND SERVICES

IN WALTHAM FOREST

Report on responses to a questionnaire to mark International Women’s Day 2014

May 2014

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Acknowledgements i

About Waltham Forest Rising i

INTRODUCTION 1

Marking International Women’s Day 2014 1

The local context 1

GATHERING WOMEN’S VIEWS 2

Views on the Boards 3

Responses to Waltham Forest Rising’s questionnaire 5PART ONE – Questions about support and information available in Waltham Forest 5PART TWO – More detailed questions about access to services and information 7PART THREE – Information about respondents 10

PicturesPicture 1: responses on Board 1 4Picture 2: responses on Board 2 4

TablesTable 1: What respondents chose from the following as needing more support available in Waltham Forest (board responses)? 3Table 2: What respondents chose as most needed in Waltham Forest to address violence against women and girls (board responses)? 3Table 3: Gender of respondents 10

ChartsChart 1A: Violence against women and girls – what respondents think needs more support available in Waltham Forest 5Chart 1B: What respondents think is the most urgent action needed in Waltham Forest to address violence against women and girls 6Chart 1C: Where in Waltham Forest respondents want to feel safe(r) 6Chart 2A: Whether services and information to help victims of violence against women and girls are easy to access in Waltham Forest 7Chart 2B: If you needed to get information or support (because of violence against women & girls)for a friend or someone you know, would you know where to get it? 8Chart 2Bi: Can you tell us where you would access it? 8Chart 2Bii: Did you, or the person you were helping, get the information or advice or help needed? 8Chart 2C: Thinking about your answer to the previous question, what, if any, do you think or have you found are the barriers to getting help in Waltham Forest? 9Chart 2D: What would be the best place for you to get support or information if you quickly needed to help a friend? 9Chart 3A: Respondents living in Waltham Forest 10Chart 3B: Age of respondents 10Chart 3C: Ethnic group of respondents 11Chart 3D: Whether or not respondents saw themselves as having a disability 11Chart 3D: Sexual orientation of respondents 12Chart 3E: Whether or not respondents were parents 12

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AcknowledgementsSarah Morgan is the author of this report and a founder of Waltham Forest Rising. She would like to thank Waltham Forest Rising members (Emily Burns, Claire Coghill, Rebecca Cooper, Wendy Davies, Silvana Gambini, Saima Mahmud and Dawn Ram) who helped with the questionnaire and analysis of results.

Waltham Forest Rising would like to thank the Waltham Forest Women’s Network, Rooms of Our Own and Stella Creasy MP for supporting and promoting the questionnaire. Waltham Forest Rising would like to thank everyone who responded to our questionnaire or who visited our stall at the International Women’s Day event – this is your report and would not have been possible without you.

About Waltham Forest RisingWaltham Forest Rising is a grass roots organisation committed to action to end violence against women and girls in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. Waltham Forest Rising was founded in early 2013 by a small group of women who wanted to campaign locally on violence against women and girls. More information on Waltham Forest Rising is available on our website, including details of meetings, activities and events. While Waltham Forest Rising is a women-only organisation, we regularly hold events to which both women and men are welcome.

[email protected]@WF_Rising

May 2014

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VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS:VIEWS ON INFORMATION AND SERVICES

IN WALTHAM FORESTResults from a questionnaire to mark

International Women’s Day 2014

Introduction

Marking International Women’s Day 2014On International Women’s Day 2013, Waltham Forest Rising held a successful ‘Markets to the Marshes March’ to highlight concerns about safety on Walthamstow High St, the St James’s area and Walthamstow Marshes. It was a huge success, and was supported by lots of local people, local councillors and the police.

This year, Waltham Forest Rising decided to take a different approach, which would enable us as an organisation to take a more borough-wide view. Along with other women’s organisations in the borough, we participated in the event at the Assembly Hall to celebrate International Women’s Day. We took this opportunity to mark International Women’s Day 2014 by asking a series of questions to gather views on information and services about violence against women and girls available in Waltham Forest.

The local contextThe London Borough of Waltham Forest made two commitments to mark the 2013 International Day to End All forms of Violence Against Women and Girls (25 November):

1. formally joined the White Ribbon campaign, marked by a launch event at Leyton Orient Football club. On the day, prominent local men including Leyton Orient striker Kevin Lisbie, the Mayor, Leader of the Council, the Metropolitan Police Service’s Borough Commander, signed the White Ribbon pledge; and,2. launched a mission statement on the council’s approach to ending violence against women and girls.

These are both very valuable initiatives. Local women’s and safety organisations, including Waltham Forest Rising, were invited to feed in to the draft mission statement, and to attend the White Ribbon launch.

While welcoming and supporting these initiatives and the work done, Waltham Forest Rising believes that the council should do more to understand and consider the views of people, and especially women, in Waltham Forest on violence against women and girls. This would help the council and other authorities or service providers in the borough understand better how women and men access and would like to access information and services for violence against women and girls in the borough. As an organisation, we welcome the council’s mission statement, and recognise that this builds on the positive work already underway, particularly in

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relation to domestic abuse, but would urge LBWF to build on this very positive initiative and develop a local strategy on violence against women and girls, drawing on the Mayor of London’s and the national Home Office led strategies.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) similarly has a critical role to play in ensuring there is a more joined up approach in LB Waltham Forest to violence against women and girls. At the pan-London level, as part of the Mayor of London’s violence against women and girl’s strategy, the MPS has changed the way in which it responds to violence against women and girls. Bringing this to local policing and ensuring partnerships with other organisations and authorities in LB Waltham Forest, including with the council, reflect the approach set out in the pan-London strategy is critical to building further on this success. The Borough Commander and team have already demonstrated commitment through signing the White Ribbon pledge; there is more they can do in their leadership role to drive partnership working to address violence against women and girls locally.

There is a lot which has been delivered in LB Waltham Forest by the council and the police to address violence against women and girls. And work is underway in recognition that there is more that can be done in terms of addressing all forms of violence against women and girls in a strategic and joined up way. Waltham Forest Rising firmly believes that people living in Waltham Forest, and particularly women, should have their voices included in this work, and that their views should help shape a borough-wide strategy, on violence against women and girls. This strategy should be owned by the relevant authorities in the borough, including the council and police, ensuring that activity to address violence against women and girls is joined up and that information and intelligence to enable this is shared.

Gathering women’s viewsThe remainder of this report sets out findings from our International Women’s Day questionnaire, outlining views on information and services on violence against women and girls in Waltham Forest. The findings illuminate what more can be done locally. We look forward to continuing to work with the council, police and others to drive this forward and make Waltham Forest a safer place for everyone.

At the IWD event, which was women-only, women were able to volunteer their views in two ways – via pinpoint boards (see pictures 1 and 2) and a short paper-based questionnaire. One hundred and eleven women completed the survey on the day; this was supplemented by an online questionnaire open to all, and to which there were 31 responses.

We intend to use the information gathered from the questionnaire in the following ways:

(a) to feed the information back to the Council, the Police and other relevant authorities in report form and press for more to be done to address violence against women and girls in the borough; and, (b) to consider Waltham Forest Rising’s focus of action for the future.

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Views on the BoardsOn Waltham Forest Rising stall at the International Women’s Day event there were two boards, each of which asked a question about violence against women and girls in Waltham Forest. Women were invited to use stickers to quickly express their views (pictures 1 and 2). The questions on the boards reflected the first two questions in our International Women’s Day questionnaire.

Waltham Forest Rising members talked to women on the day and it was very clear that the responses on the boards reflected women’s views and concerns – that action on domestic violence is very important, but that other forms of violence against women and girls such also need local support. Many women expressed concerns that more needed to be done, that victims needed to be believed and more needed to be done to ensure young people were equipped with information about violence against women and girls, including healthy relationships. These messages were reinforced in the responses to our questionnaire.

The results are set out below:

Table 1: What respondents chose from the following as needing more support available in Waltham Forest (board responses)?

Violence type Number of stickersSexual violence (including rape) 20Forced/involuntary prostitution 5Forced marriage 11Sexual harassment at work 6Domestic slavery 3Sexual harassment in public 9Female genital mutilation 21Domestic violence 14So-called honour crimes 6Teenage relationship abuse 11Girls and gangs 13Personal safety in public places 13Psychological control and abuse 7Economic control and abuse 8Trafficking for sexual exploition 12

Table 2: What respondents chose as most needed in Waltham Forest to address violence against women and girls (board responses)?

Action Number of stickersBelieve victims when they report violence 17Better education for young people about relationships

18

Support to tackle forced marriage 11More information on where to get help 9All of the above 27Something else 1

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Picture 1: responses on Board 1

Picture 2: responses on Board 2

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Responses to Waltham Forest Rising’s questionnaireBelow are the combined results from our International Women’s Day questionnaire which were gathered from:a) women who attended the International Women’s Day event at the Assembly Hall on 8 March 2014 (112 responses); and,b) respondents to an online version of the questionnaire (31 responses).

Results do not always sum to 143 as respondents did not answer all questions.

PART ONE – questions about support and information available in Waltham ForestThis section asked three questions, about support and action on violence against women and girls, and feeling safe in Waltham Forest. Domestic violence was identified as needing more support as were other forms of violence against women and girls including teenage relationship abuse, girls and gangs, sexual violence. I Respondents also identified mental health services as an area which needed greater provision.

Believing victims and educating young people were also areas where respondents thought more could be done. Other issues identified by respondents included working with men and boys, cyber-bullying, better education for young people on consent.

Respondents identified parts and open spaces and transport hubs as places they wanted to feel safe(r). A third of respondents to this question identified their own home as somewhere they wanted to feel safe(r). Some respondents wrote in that they wanted to feel safe everywhere in the borough, and others that they wanted to feel safe on public transport, in addition to at stations. One respondent said they felt Waltham Forest was in general a very safe place.

Chart 1A. Violence against women and girls – what respondents think needs more support available in Waltham Forest

Total: 143

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Chart 1B. What respondents think is the most urgent action needed in Waltham Forest to address violence against women and girls

Total: 138

Chart 1C where in Waltham Forest respondents want to feel safe(r)

Total: 140

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PART TWO – more detailed questions about access to services and informationMost respondents who answered the first question in this section said they didn’t know whether services and information to help victims of violence against women and girls were easy to access. This is illustrated by the one third of respondents who said that if they needed to get help or support they would know where to find it.

Of those who said they had accessed information or services on violence against women and girls, over half had used a local service, and most of these said that the help needed had been provided. The kinds of things were help was needed included domestic violence, forced marriage, whether to go to the police or not. Services which people said they had accessed included Stay Safe East, the local police, Waltham Forest Haven, Kiran, Victim Support, Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis.

We asked about possible barriers to accessing information and services. Of those who responded, over half said information and services were not easy to find but the reactions of other people – being afraid to tell others, people not understanding – were also clearly seen as barriers. For our respondents, the best place to find information and services was clearly specialist helplines and websites, although the police and community organisations also ranked highly.

Chart 2A. Whether services and information to help victims of violence against women and girls are easy to access in Waltham Forest

Total: 136

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2B. If you needed to get information or support (because of violence against women & girls) for a friend or someone you know, would you know where to get it?

Total: 136

Respondents who said yes to question 2B were asked if they could provide additional information.

Chart 2Bi Can you tell us where you would access it?

Total: 54

Chart 2Bii Did you, or the person you were helping, get the information or advice or help needed?

Total: 54

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Chart 2C. Thinking about your answer to the previous question, what, if any, do you think or have you found are the barriers to getting help in Waltham Forest?

Total: 96

Chart 2D. What would be the best place for you to get support or information if you quickly needed to help a friend?

Total: 106

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PART THREE – information about respondentsThe final section of the questionnaire asked people to tell us a little about who they were. The vast majority, unsurprisingly given most questionnaires were completed at the women-only Waltham Forest International Women’s Day event, were women who lived locally, and were aged between 25 and 64. Over half said they were a parent, and most identified as straight/heterosexual. In terms of ethnic background, a large minority were white British; however, there was also a good proportion of respondents who identified as from Indian, Pakistani and Caribbean ethnic groupings. Over ten per cent said they considered they were disabled.

Chart 3A: Respondents living in Waltham Forest

Total: 135

Table 3: Gender of respondentsGender of respondents was only specifically asked online as only women permitted to attend the International Women’s Day event.

Male 2 1%Female 141 99%Total 143

Chart 3B: Age of respondents

Total: 103

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Chart 3C: Ethnic group of respondents

Total: 136

Chart 3D: Whether or not respondents saw themselves as having a disability

Total: 105

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Chart 3D: Sexual orientation of respondents

Total: 127

Chart 3E: Whether or not respondents were parents

Total: 135

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